Nebraska Hate Crime Possibly Staged

Crime scene photo (Via Facebook)

I saw this story last week, and was immediately suspicious, given that there have been other high-profile hate crime hoaxes, and that the details of the victims condition didn’t preclude the possibility that the whole ordeal was self-inflicted.

(CNN) — Three masked men allegedly bound a woman and carved words into her skin, police in Lincoln, Nebraska, said Monday.

The incident has been classified as a hate crime because a derogatory term for lesbians was painted inside the home, said Officer Katie Flood, a spokeswoman for the Lincoln Police Department.

Someone had carved words into the woman’s body, police said, but investigators declined to elaborate. In addition, someone poured gasoline around the house and lit it, but the fire did little damage, police said.

After the attack, the woman made her way to the home of a neighbor, Linda Rappl, who said she feared bad news about her husband, who is in hospice, when she heard someone knocking on her door before dawn Sunday.

“I was in shock,” Rappl said. “She was naked, her hands were tied with zip ties. All I could see was a cut across her forehead and blood running down.”

It looked like she had endured torture, Rappl said.

“Some of the blood that was on her — that had run down her legs — was dried so I don’t know how long it was before she got away.”

When word got out about the attack — and the words carved into the woman’s skin and painted onto the walls — people responded with anger and sadness on social media.

I had actually considered posting about the story and noting the possibility that it was a hoax, but decided against it. I figured that soon enough we would know whether the story would hold up. Via Gateway Pundit comes word that victims story may not be true. The JournalStar.com reports:

Police continue to investigate Sunday’s reported hate crime but say they haven’t ruled out the possibility that the 33-year-old woman staged the attack.

Chief Jim Peschong told the Journal Star investigators were not certain an attack took place, but he said Tuesday it was too early to tell whether the attack was a hoax. Police have no suspects, the chief said.

Capt. Jim Davidsaver said later the FBI had joined the investigation, and an agent was at the department Tuesday.

A 33-year-old Near South woman told police three masked men burst into her house Sunday morning, bound her with zip ties, carved anti-gay slurs into her skin and tried to light her house on fire, according to the woman’s friend, who spoke to the Journal Star on Sunday.

…According to [a friend, Dawn] Thorfinnson, the woman’s attackers told her they targeted her after watching her perform with a 5-year-old girl during Omaha’s Gay Pride Parade on June 30. The woman lip-synced Elton John’s “Your Song” while the child danced in a tutu.

During the festivities, the woman was named to a position of prominence, Thorfinnson said. She wanted to champion tolerance and make the world a better place for future generations of gays and lesbians.

“It’s really sad she was attacked for being with kids when it’s the children she’s really focused on,” Thorfinnson said. “That’s why she wanted to do any event during Pride where we’re raising kids in a world of acceptance and tolerance instead of hate.”

The Lincoln and Omaha LGBT community had already started raising funds for the victim. I hope they have a plan for returning the donations if the story does turn out to be false.

Update: Updated the title to reflect that the location of the crime wasn’t Omaha, but Lincoln.

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Posted by on July 25, 2012.
Filed under Breaking News.
Tagged with: .
Doug Johnson is a news junkie and long time blog reader, turned author.

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  • Commander_Chico

    Why is it almost always females who try this kind of thing? Remember that chick who said she was attacked by Obama supporters on the eve of the election and it was all over Drudge?

  • herddog505

    It’s the Tea Party’s fault!
    — ABC News

  • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

    I’ll be surprised if the ‘carved anti-gay slurs’ are more than slight scratches. And it seems to me that if you’re willing to break and enter, carve someone up, and bind them with zip ties then set fire to the house, you’d think about how you’d actually get the house to catch fire instead of just splashing gas randomly outside and hoping the house catches.

    And why would you go down into the BASEMENT to do your graffiti? WTF?

    Something stinks here, and I don’t think it’s the gas.

    • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

      On thinking about that… seems to me you’d do the graffiti on the outside of the house, and the gas in the basement… but that’s just me trying to get the best bang for the buck, so to speak.

    • cliveklg

      You sure put a lot of thought into how you’d commit this crime.

      Please give us your expert opinion that is oh so much more reliable than LPD or the FBI.

      • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

        Haven’t seen any data from LPD or FBI – simply going by what’s reported.

        It’s the internet, chum. Folks are entitled to their opinions, and to express them.

        As far as the crime goes – if you’re bad-ass and ruthless enough to risk a charge of kidnapping, if you’re disfiguring the victim, if you HATE them enough to do something like that, you’d be stupid not to be effective on the arson and vandalism – you’re gonna burn down their house and graffiti what’s left.

        Come on, man, if you’re going to commit a HATE crime, at least think it through to get the most out of your effort.

        (Sheesh. Kids these days…)

        Here’s the latest I can find, off MSNBC.

        “Rogers told police three masked men broke into her home early Sunday,
        bound her wrists and ankles with zip ties, beat her and carved anti-gay
        slurs into her arms and abdomen.

        The men also allegedly
        spray-painted a derogatory term for lesbians inside the home and tried
        to set it on fire, in what police in Lincoln, Neb., are investigating as a hate crime. Rogers told police she was targeted because she’s gay.”

        Just from this – kidnapping, assault, battery, breaking and entering, arson, vandalism. The three – if they existed – are in for real trouble and probably life sentences if they ever get caught. And if they exist I hope they do get caught, and sent away for life. That kind of hateful, vile stupidity’s got no place in a civilized society.

        Notably – no rape. Come to think of it, that’s odd. 3 guys, one lesbian, and they’re not ‘teaching her a lesson’? That’s… peculiar.

        Now – why graffiti INSIDE the home? You’re looking to shame the victim? If that’s the case, you want it visible to as many people as possible.

        Can’t find any pictures of the anti-gay slurs carved (and what I think of as carving is knife through skin and subcutaneous fat) into her. We’ll let the investigations finish, and see what’s what.

        As I said – I’m free to post an opinion. I’m openly skeptical – and if it turns out I’m wrong I’ll admit it. But things just aren’t fitting together in my opinion like they should, and I’ll also admit I don’t have all the info the police do.

        Time will tell who’s right and who’s wrong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Kilin.Monarrez Kilin Monarrez

    I’m local to the story. The crime occurred in Lincoln, not Omaha

  • http://opinion.ak4mc.us/ Scribe of Slog (McGehee)

    The business of carving words into skin just screams hoax anymore. Morton Downey, Jr. was the first person I ever heard of that it happened to and, well…

    Hoax.

  • H.R. Paperstacks

    Your headline is a little misleading. This occurred in Lincoln.

    • http://wizbangblog.com/ Doug Johnson

      Thanks. Updated.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wolfywoman Anita Gunnuscio Howard

    This woman that this happened to happens to be my aunts step niece and from what my family has told me the gay slurs that were cut into her skin are more than mere scratches or cuts they are hate words

    • http://www.facebook.com/wolfywoman Anita Gunnuscio Howard

      also she isn’t the type of person to do something like this to herself

      • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

        Pardon me for being skeptical – but they never are… at first.

        Unfortunately, as others have pointed out, this is an almost standard attention-seeking method, beloved by hoaxers. And as I pointed out above – if the intent was to really hurt, then the spraypaint would have been outside the house, and the gasoline set fire in the basement. Lot of exposed wood down there, floor joists and such, and the damage would have been greater.

        If I’m wrong, I apologize. But any more there can be no automatic assumption that the victim in a high-visibility ‘hate crime’ is actually truthful.

        Added – It’s also unfortunate that you’re a Disqus one-post wonder, (two entries total, on this blog only…) with a Facebook link to a page that doesn’t exist. That tends to make me more skeptical, not less – sorry to say.

        • http://www.wizbangblog.com David Robertson

          Excuse me, but whether or not Anita regularly participates in blog discussions is irrelevant. Your comment about Anita appears to me to be “ad hominem”.

          Also, I do not recall the existence of a set of rules dictating to proper way to vandalize someone’s house.

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            My observation stands – I’ve seen too many one-post wonders here who come in, drop their posts, and then are never seen again to explain or defend what they post.

            I’m curious about this – and when there’s someone who pops in, with information which cannot be verified, who cannot even be verified to exist, who doesn’t have any sort of history even with a Facebook link included, I’m going to be skeptical about who the person actually is. I’m sorry about that if saying such offends you, but… (shrug.) That’s about the size of it. As Reagan said – trust, but verify. I’m trying to verify, and not finding anything to trust.

            As far as vandalism goes – seems to me you want to do as much damage to the person as possible. This is someone you hate. This is someone who you want to hurt. Breaking in and spraypainting in the basement doesn’t embarrass the person much – it might frighten them but it’s not VISIBLE to the world.

            You want to shame them, you want to hurt them publicly – this isn’t public. Public is the front or side of the house, public is on the road in front of the house. If this is a hate crime, you want everyone to see the person you hate shamed and humiliated.

            Same thing with arson – if you’re trying to burn down a house, you don’t splash gas on the lawn and light it. If you’ve got access to the basement – that’s where you spread the gas.

            Like I said – something about this really stinks. I could well be wrong about it, and I’ll apologize publicly if so. But this seems more like attention-seeking behavior, and it mirrors a lot of past hoaxes. At this point, after seeing enough other hoaxes, I’m not going to automatically believe that the victim didn’t do it to herself.

          • http://www.facebook.com/wolfywoman Anita Gunnuscio Howard

            you know what you don’t know me and the facebook page you refer to as not being there is there as i actively look on facebook daily but I don’t have it open to the public. It is wrong to sit there and judge others just because police are still looking at the evidence. So stop judging others in something you know nothing about.

        • http://www.facebook.com/wolfywoman Anita Gunnuscio Howard

          the reason you couldn’t verify my facebook profile is I had it set to private and only friends could see what i post on there but I assure you my facebook page is legitimate

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            Thank you for responding.

            I’ll be honest – if you’re who you say you are, then I apologize for doubting you. However – I have no way to find out whether you’re honest, or even the person you say you are. All I’ve got to judge by is your on-line presence, which is unavailable.

            And I’ve seen plenty of people lie on the internet. In my experience, it’s usually the ones who say “You can trust me!” when I’m doubting they can be trusted who will rip you off in a heartbeat or lie just for the sake of it.

            Again, I apologize for offending.

        • cliveklg

          What do you do for a living JLawson? What makes you more reliable on what occurred to this woman or on her mental state?

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            I work in the real world, where claims are tested against reality – and if the claims don’t hold up, those making them lose considerably while those who trust the claims lose even more.

    • http://www.wizbangblog.com David Robertson

      Can you give us a web link to more information that can shed light on what happened?

  • http://www.wizbangblog.com David Robertson

    To me, the insinuation that the victim did it to herself is akin to Brian Ross telling people that a Tea Party member has the same name as the Aurora shooter. The insinuation plants an idea that has no evidence to support it. The fact that some people have created hoax attacks does not in itself imply that what happened in Nebraska was a hoax.

  • cliveklg

    Interesting you actually made a whole blog post on this. I have to wonder at the people so enthusiastically trying to discredit this woman.

    • Guest

      because she’s an insane liar

  • Guest

    Total hoax, sick lady, shrewd too, all you have to do is get your fund address on the maddow media and lgbt blogs and huffpo and you’re set for life.These scammers have been collecting for Jane Doe named Rainbow Jane until Charlie Rodgers faced doubters, now the second round of victimology fund raising going on. If she avoid detection she’ll be set for life, rich and famous. People eat bugs to get on TV, this seems a lot easier……..That graffiti, “we found u…..” in the basement……found u in the basement! What a stupid joke. People are just getting more brazen in their scams. Sucker born every minute, ready reservoir of sympathy, the sheer amount of hoaxes (last month alexandra pennell, May, two women in colorado….) Google Larry Brinkin for men, Google Alexandra Pennell for women, I’ll leave the tag lines to you. Sad state of affairs.
    PS look at the speed face-picking wounds all over her face, she’s on a high dose of adderal or using meth.

    update 8/16/12: the Montana guy admitting a hoax yesterday, beat himself up for attention…..no charges, probation sentence……gay people stop this please……screw who you want, we don’t care, just don’y make me watch, i have a delicate stomach

  • http://www.facebook.com/drcheasman David R. Cheasman

    Awfully quiet in Lincoln since this “crime” occurred 10 days ago. No update from police in days. I hope it’s not ok in Lincoln to perpetrate a hoax crime.

  • Peter Hyatt

    I believe it is a hoax only because I listened to Charlie Rogers herself, talk about it. She does not linguistically connect herself with the crime. I lay out about 2 dozen reasons why she is lying here: http://seamusoriley.blogspot.com/2012/08/charlie-rogers-complete-statement.html Your web site is one of only a very few that even dare to raise the possibility of hoax. Peter Hyatt

  • Pingback: Police Charge Nebraska Lesbian Charlie Rogers With Staging Her Own Attack | Wizbang

  • Guest

    lying liar charged with lying to police